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Detailed geological mapping and new stratigraphic and structural data collected in the Lucania area of the southern Apennines allowed us to assess the deformation history of Il Monte–Corleto Perticara zone, in the High Agri Valley (Lucanian Apennines, southern Italy) where red and green shales (known as Argille Varicolori or Argille scagliose) crop out. Our observations suggest that: (1) ‘chaotic’ facies within the Argille Varicolori may be attributed to a broken formation generated by overthrusting of Apenninic Platform units onto already deformed Lagonegro basin strata; (2) gravity sliding phenomena at the thrust front enhanced the development of debris flow and the emplacement of olistostromes at distances of up to tens of kilometres from the leading edge of the Apenninic Platform thrust; (3) the above processes probably ended in mid-Miocene time, as suggested by observed structural and stratigraphic relationships among accreted terranes and synorogenic deposits. The evolutionary model envisaged here could also be relevant in other active convergent zones, where seismic and drilling data are sparse, and in subaerial fossil margins where broken formations occur.

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